Researching writing lives has been a very new experience for me. I have read factual and fictional stories of a similar genre before but I have never felt as invested in the story’s protagonist as I did when reading about Louise Shore. I think this was because I knew that I would be attempting to promote Shore’s story on a broader platform and make it more accessible to a wider audience. I felt the responsibility to truly understand her story and to make sure I put across an accurate and justified portrayal of her memoir. Shore’s particular memoir was so appealing to me because it so far from my own life experiences. Shore writes of the discrimination and struggles she encountered being a black, unmarried women of lower class status during a period of time when these things were deemed so important by society. Compared to Shore, I am in a relatively privileged position being a white female with a full education during a time when it is acceptable for a woman to be unmarried and independent and this made me so intrigued to see how life was for Shore and people just like her. I hope by writing about Shore in a blog format means that her story can be universally accessible. I could find no trace of Shore’s birth or death records nor could I find any of her family’s records despite the Shores being such a large family. She had a child quite early on in life and it would be wonderful if her child could learn something of his mother’s life by seeing my blog and reading his mother’s memoir. There was no trace of Shore’s son so it is unknown whether he is aware of her story or not.
I really enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the Writing Lives research project. Although we were all writing about different people I enjoyed hearing about the other memoirs and different perspectives on topics within the memoirs. It was helpful to know when I was doubtful or struggling that there were other people around to turn to for advice and having someone else proof read your work provides a fresh perspective and makes you think of things you may have missed alone. I found writing in for a blog somewhat challenging but in a good way. I am used to writing in a critically analytical way for an audience who have a degree level understanding of literature. Writing for a blog meant I had to alter my writing style and make sure the language was accessible and engaging to people of various educational levels and I relished this new way of writing.
I think combining literary writings with social media is something I would not necessarily have thought of doing. I tend to think of social media as just that – a way to socialise – but it has far greater uses than that. By posting on social media about writing lives it enables me to reach a wider, universal audience and in a much faster way than many other platforms. It also allowed for instant feedback from others and although I was writing about the past, it made it very current and allowed Shore’s story to be shared today.
Louise Shore, Pure Running: a Life Story, Hackney Reading Centre at Centerprise (1982). Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography, University of Brunel Library, Special Collection, 2:707.